Take back

Take back
: The pundits were saying tonight that Dean would have to soften his take-back-America campaign theme. They were wrong. He came out shouting that tonight.

: Command Post is doing a great job on the election.

: Josh Marshall: “Stunning. Actually, stunning doesn’t stunning doesn’t really do it justice.”

: Note that the winner of tonight’s race isn’t John Kerry. It’s JohnKerry.com. That’s the name on the podium. That’s the plug he made sure to make. He wants the Internet, too.

: On Dean’s blog comments, you find plenty of references to “the bat.” For those late to the party, here’s what that means:

Each time the campaign launches a fundraising challenge, Mele places a baseball bat on the “Dean for America” Web site. Often it is Dean’s own supporters who demand the bat, which has developed a game-show-like following, that encourages people to contribute money instantly through their credit cards. The bat fills up like a thermometer to indicate the campaign’s progress.

: Every one of the speeches tonight was a class act — except Dean. He didn’t come off as presidential. He came out screaming like a coked-up coach: in your face, a little scary.

: Howard Kurtz says the pundits pooped out:

The impressive showing in Iowa by Kerry and Edwards — and the failure of Howard Dean to blow everyone away — is already being depicted by the media as a “surprise,” a “dramatic turn of events,” a “stunning upset,” and so on. But since no one really knew what was going to happen in these frigid meetings, it was mainly a surprise because the press for so many months had been trumpeting a Howard Dean-Richard Gephardt showdown….

To put it mildly, you didn’t read it here first.

In other words, just about everything you heard and read about the Iowa caucuses in November and December was wrong. Particularly those endless pieces about the importance of strong grass-roots organizations. The press would have done better if all the reporters had taken a long vacation.

The Fourth Estate has now gotten Dean wrong twice. Underestimating him in early 2003, overestimating him going into ’04.